Donald G. Truhlar

Regents Professor

Chemistry, College of Science and Engineering, 2006

Donald G. Truhlar, Institute of Technology Distinguished Professor (1998), has served the University of Minnesota with distinction for more than thirty-five years. Considered among the top physical chemists in the world, he has made seminal contributions that have advanced chemistry and chemical physics in transformational ways. Professor Truhlar developed the use of accurate quantum dynamics calculations to explore the quantum mechanics of reactive dynamics and transition states, which was among the first in the history of computational chemical dynamics. Another groundbreaking development included his variational transition state theory (VTST) as a practical computational tool applicable to a broad range of problems. He played a pivotal role in the development of new techniques for calculating solvation energies of organic and biochemical molecules in aqueous solution and organic solvents. In summary, he has enhanced the world's basic understanding of the mechanisms of chemical reaction and has developed new and powerful tools for using state-of-the-art supercomputers. Because of his contributions in this area, the computer industry is able to bring ever more computational power to the desks of working scientists. Professor Truhlar's teaching and advising record at the University is unparalleled. He has taught numerous graduate and undergraduate courses. His lectures are characterized as brilliant and innovative. He has served as Director of Graduate Studies for the Chemistry, Chemical Physics, and Scientific Computation programs. He has mentored more than one hundred graduate students and postdoctoral associates. Many of these students have gone on to esteemed careers in government, labs, industry, and teaching. His work with undergraduate students is also significant. Under his supervision, forty-three undergraduates have published fifty-two research papers. His record of service both within and outside of the University is impressive. Under his direction, the University's Supercomputer Institute flourished. It now serves approximately two hundred research groups from over forty departments. He has served on numerous departmental, college, and University-wide committees. His national service includes his election as National Councilor of the American Chemical Society and chairman of two leading international conferences in his field. He is the chief theoretical chemistry editor of the Journal of the American Chemical Society. In addition, he serves as editor of or on the board of several other respected journals in chemistry, chemical physics, and scientific computation. He is the author of numerous articles and journals. He has published more than eight hundred papers. He is the recipient of many recognitions and honors, including the 2004 National Academy of Sciences Award for Scientific Reviewing, the Lise Meitner Lectureship Award, the Award for Computers in Chemical and Pharmaceutical Research, and the Peter Debye Award in Physical Chemistry. Described by his peers worldwide as a true intellectual, Professor Truhlar continues to play a distinguishing role in his field and, in so doing, has distinguished the University of Minnesota. We are indeed fortunate to have him as part of our intellectual community. (Updated, 2006)

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